Our templates make it easier for you to create a print-ready paperback cover with programs like Adobe Photoshop® or Adobe InDesign®. Download a cover template.
If you want to set up your file yourself, try our calculator. After you enter your ink and paper choices, trim size, and page count, the calculator will generate a layout like this:
Prepare, Publish, Promote
- Getting Started
Prepare Your Book
Format Your Manuscript
eBook Manuscript Resources
- Simplified eBook Formatting Guide
- eBook File Formatting Tips
- Supported eBook Formats
- eBook Conversion Formats
- Create a Table of Contents
- Format Images in Your eBook
- Character Encoding
- Create Links to Footnotes
- Bonus Content
- Reduce Your eBook Manuscript File Size
- Submitting Your Paperback to KDP
- Formatting on a Mac
- eBook Manuscript Resources
- Create Your Cover
- Format Your Manuscript
Publish Your Book
Enter Book Details
- Enter eBook Details
- Enter Paperback Details
- eBook Metadata Guidelines
- Paperback Metadata Guidelines
- Supported Languages
- Publishing Public Domain Content
- Make Your Book More Discoverable with Keywords
- Selecting Browse Categories
- Enter Age and Grade Ranges
- Series Titles
- Upload Content
Set Rights and Pricing
- Enter Pricing Information
- Paperback Pricing
- eBook Distribution Rights
- Paperback Distribution Rights
- Enter Book Details
Promote Your Book
Kindle Merchandising Programs
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- Update Your Book
Sales, Royalties, Taxes
- Sales Reports
- Getting Paid
- Tax Information Requirements
- Tax Forms
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- Tax Interview
- Tax Withholding
- Applying for a U.S. TIN (Taxpayer ID Number)
- Tax ID Validation
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Prepare, Publish, Promote Prepare Your Book Create Your Cover Paperback Cover Resources Create a Paperback Cover
Create a Paperback Cover
Your cover must be a single PDF that includes the back cover, spine, and front cover as one image. The steps below include our top tips for avoiding common file rejections. Our Cover Creator tool can also help you design a paperback cover.
Step 2: Format background
- Bleed. If you want to add a background color, make sure it extends 0.125" (3 mm) beyond the final trim size on all edges. This will prevent a white border from appearing at the edge when your book is trimmed.
- Illegible text. When choosing a background color, consider how much it contrasts with the text. If the colors are too similar, the text might blend into the background and be hard to read.
- Barcode size and placement. When your files are reviewed, our system places an ISBN barcode in a 2" (50.8 mm) by 1.2" (30.5 mm) white box in the lower right-hand corner of your book's back cover. If you leave images or text in this part of the cover, the barcode will cover them during printing, so don't leave anything important there. You can add the white space for the barcode yourself and place it anywhere you like. Leave a white space 2" (50.8 mm) wide by 1.2" (30.5 mm) tall anywhere on the back cover.
- Borders. We don't recommend borders because we must allow for a 0.125" (3.2 mm) production variance that may trim the border or cause it to appear uneven. If your file includes borders, they should cover at least 0.25" (6.3 mm) inside the trim line. If you include a white border, it must meet our minimum border width or we may reject your file.
Step 3: Add images
- Bleed. When adding images, make sure they extend 0.125" (3 mm) beyond the final trim size on all edges. This will prevent a white border from appearing at the edge when your book is trimmed.
- Image color, size, and quality. Images may be CMYK or RGB color. All images should be sized at 100%, flattened to one layer and placed in your document at a minimum resolution of 300 DPI (dots per inch). Learn more about high-resolution images.
Step 4: Add text
- Front and back cover text. When adding text, make sure it's at least 0.125" (3 mm) inside the trim lines. Also, no front or back cover text should extend into the spine area.
- Spine text. If your page count is under 100 pages, you shouldn't add spine text. Also, spine text needs at least 0.0625" (1.6 mm) on either side so that the text doesn't wrap onto the front or back cover.
- Book details. As you add text to your cover, make sure it exactly matches the book details (e.g., title, author name, edition, ISBN) entered during title setup.
- Font size and color. Text should be at least 7-point font so it's large enough for customers to read. Also, make sure the text doesn't blend into the background. This may happen if the text and background colors are too similar.
Step 5: Pre-publication checklist
- Flatten all transparencies. These can cause the file to print with missing or distorted content. Consult your software's documentation to learn how.
- Make sure your fonts are embedded. Consult your software's documentation to learn how.
- Remove any crop marks or color bars. Crop marks are lines showing where pages should be trimmed. Color bars are strips with a series of patches used to ensure color balance during printing.
- Remove any template text, PDF creation guides, or software references.